Remembering Salvatore Califano


Salvatore Califano, distinguished member of the Scientific Committee, passed away yesterday.

He was born in Naples on 21 June 1931, emeritus professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence, where he founded and directed the European Laboratory of Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS). Califano was a member of the Lincei Academy, the European Academy, the Italian Chemical Society, the La Colombaria Academy, the Turin Academy of Sciences and organizer/director of several schools (NATO, SIF, Gordon) and international congresses, member of the international committee of the Max Planck Gesellschaft for the Minerva (Germany-Israel) program in Laser-matter interaction, of the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry section of IUPAC between 2002 and 2005, and of the scientific council of various international laboratories.

His research activities spanned from molecular spectroscopy, the lattice dynamics of molecular crystals, the life times of phonons, ultrafast spectroscopy, solid state physical chemistry, molecular dynamics, to non-linear processes, and pico and femto second spectroscopy.

He authored more than 130 articles and several volumes: on Vibrational States (1976), Lattice Dynamics of Molecular Crystals (1981) with Vincenzo Schettino and Natale Neto, History of chemistry 1: From alchemy to chemistry of the nineteenth century (2010), History of chemistry 2: From physical chemistry to the molecules of life (2011), Pathways to modern chemical physics (2012), The development of catalysis (2017) with Adriano Zecchina, The birth of quantum mechanics (2018) with Vincenzo Schettino.

Califano was a man of great curiosity and multidisciplinary cultural interests that ranged from science to philosophy, history and literature.